10 years ago yesterday Juan Dixon and Gary Williams cut down the nets in the Georgia Dome, celebrating the Maryland Terrapins first National Basketball Championship. 10 years ago today, my life as a fan of DMV sports teams started a 10 year run of futility that I thought I would never witness in my lifetime.
Before I dive into the depressing facts of my last 10 years as a fan of the Orioles, Redskins, Terps and Wizards…I want to acknowledge that very special 2001-2002 Terps team. Gary led a group of overachievers to a 32-4 overall record and a 15-1 ACC mark. The Terps took down basketball powerhouses Wisconsin, Kentucky, Uconn, Kansas and Indiana during the tourney on their way to the title. Guys like Lonny Baxter, Steve Blake, Byron Mouton, Drew Nicholas and Chris Wilcox all played key roles for the team. To this day…maybe forever, Juan Dixon remains my all-time favorite college basketball player.
Now, the aftermath. I root with a passion for the four teams I mentioned earlier. I’m a Caps fan as well, but not to the extent of the other 4 teams. Since April 1, 2002 not one of the four teams I root for have won a title. Not 1 of those teams have even played for a title. In the case of the Orioles, Redskins and Wizards, well, the last 10 years have down right sucked. Sure, there’s been a few minor bright spots, but all in all it’s been bad, real bad. Here’s a look at my decade of suck:
Baltimore Orioles – The Orioles are 227 games under .500 during the last 10 seasons. They’ve finished next to last or last in the AL East 9 out of those 10 years and have a 4 year streak of finishing last. The Orioles have gone thru 6 managers since 2002. The O’s have lost 930 games during the last 10 years!!!
Maryland Terrapins – The football team had a nice little run from 01-03’ winning 2 bowl games and finishing in the top 20 each year. Since 2004 things have not been so good. The Terps are 46-52 and have finished below .500 in four of the last eight seasons. The basketball team did win the ACC Tournament in 2004 but since then they’ve missed the NCAA tournament in 5 out of 8 seasons and have finished in the top 20 just 2 times. Overall, Maryland athletics is the team that has let me down the least over the last 10 years.
Washington Redskins – The Redskins have had just 2 winning seasons in the last 10 years. They both came under Joe Gibbs and the little runs they went on to make the playoffs those 2 seasons were enjoyable. Other than those 2 short runs and 1 playoff win, it’s pretty much been a nightmare. The Redskins are 65-95 over the last 10 seasons. The Redskins have had 4 Head Coaches during the last 10 years.
Washington Wizards – The Wizards had a run where they made the playoffs 4 seasons in a row but couldn’t get over the hump and their window for success closed very rapidly. The Wizards have had 4 seasons when they have won less than 31% of their games. The Wizards have had 5 Head Coaches during the last 10 seasons and are 110 games below .500, in the last 3 years alone!
To recap, my favorite teams have gone thru 19 head coaches/managers in the last 10 years. These teams have combined to have non-winning seasons 28 times during that span. I moved to Florida 8 years ago but I’ve continued to root for these teams. I’ve never once wavered in my loyalty. I think I’m due for a little payback…the last 10 years have been rough.
Cheers and Hail
Posted by fatpickle Date: Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Tags: juan dixon
I don’t know Danny O’Brien. And as a rule I avoid attacking amateurs. But that is just what his behavior and actions are: Amateur.
Does that reek of unprofessionalism, a passing and uninformed comment more likely heard atop a bar stool, than eminating from the likes of blogger extraodinaire Rob Lunn? Sure. But while my pedigree may include articles published on GQ, Deadspin, ESPN, or even a fulltime job writing for NESN (kill me) the part of my resume that most readily defines me, nay, qualifies me to comment on college football’s happenings is that I managed to play (survive) five seasons of it. More importantly, these seasons were spent under the man that the DC Press is now so quick to refer to as a tyrant, that is of course when not haphazardly writing grandiose depictions of Maryland’s head coach delivering rousing speeches to a room of chairs. Clever.
So I suppose this is where we are at, 2-10 now qualifies the press/media/ivory tower occupiers to look down upon College Park with a disdain for the football program and it’s leadership I have not before seen. Where do I start? I could point to a lot of ills that Edsall inherited, including but not limited to a scorned coach-in-waiting, a departure of 20-something seniors, and a boat load of NFL Talent (this past season’s departures include, precisely zero NFL caliber athletes), or the fact that long time and beloved coach Ralph Friedgen’s last move was to exit less than gracefully or squash the controversy surrounding said departure with even an ounce of dignity.
Combine that with his wife handing out “consoling cookies” in the wake of a loss to lowly Temple and well, Danny O’Brien is the least of our concerns.
But of course, that’s why I’m here, to tell you why Danny O’Brien is an unrivaled prick, plotting, conniving asshole, right? Wrong. But the story is almost too juicy to resist: Starting Quarterback, contentious coaches, and a media hungry for something, anything, to hang a poor season on. So this is it.
I can’t speak to the inner workings or dynamic of Maryland Football, but per one conversation with an NFL scout familiar with both his current charge and that in Storrs, “He’s running the program the exact same way as he did in Connecticut” Well, I’m sure not “exact same” is accurate considering that Edsall inherited an NCAA hours-allotment restriction from the previous regime, but if all else remains constant, this is the same coach who won two Big East titles, took me and my brothers to five bowl games, graduated an NCAA leading amount of players, and transformed the culture and expectation to win at football in Connecticut.
And all he ever asked of us? Commitment. To do the little things right EVERY day, to do them right EVERY time. And to play each play like it was the last play we’d ever play. These mantras meant; be clean shaven, sit up straight in meetings, turn your cell phone off, no earings at team functions, wearing the proper team issued gear and obeying the rules and expectations on the field and in the classroom.
These are the same qualities and regulations that are now being cited as evidence of his unbridled tyranny. News flash; these are the things that spawn successful members of society; good sons and brothers and fathers. The people of high moral fiber and character that achieve success despite the odds. All he asks is that you buy in. All the way in.
But as is often the case with any change, it is and was met with resistance. The University of Maryland was no different. Beginning with their starting quarterback. A season opening win against Miami, then some struggles and a refusal to take ownership. I’d defy anyone to find a quote from Dan Orlovsky, Matt Bonislowski, DJ Hernandez, Tyler Lorenzen, or Zach Frazer where they didn’t take ownership of a loss or for struggles. And conversely, an instance where they did not credit on the field success to their offensive line, receivers or running backs, or that stout UConn Defense.
But no such leadership or accountability from Danny O’Brien. None. Instead, the rumors swirled about his former recruiting coach and scorned coach-in-waiting James Franklin talking behind closed doors about O’Brien joining them at Vanderbilt the following season.
As most of us know, the NCAA requires and athlete to sit out a season if he transfers laterally or upwards in terms of competition. That is unless said athlete has already matriculated. He can than pursue his “studies” and eligibility elsewhere without penalty.
Let me be clear, I’d say that less than .5 percent of all the athletes I’ve known at the Division I level could effectively navigate the language and strategy of the NCAA’s by-laws, let alone effectively execute such a decision without a little “coaching.” Am I insinuating something? Absolutely.
Also, the commitment aspect of buying in, of giving it your all, means that the school will renew your scholarship (per the direction of the head coach and athletic department) and since these are “amateurs” we are talking about, all they ask in return is your unwavering dedication to the program and its goals. Do I disagree with this model? Absolutely, I think that scholarships should be guaranteed, but they’re not and thus the crux of the situation.
So, Danny O’Brien was committed. His scholarship renewed, and a day later, the commitment reneged. His last semester paid for and yet he was no longer a part of the program. So he would graduate then transfer to the program of his choosing, with two years of prime eligibility.
And now the question is “why is Randy Edsall blocking poor Danny-O? All he wants to do is join his recruiting coach and get a good education!” Simply put, Danny O’Brien, is playing the victim, when in reality he is simply sowing the seeds of his actions. He did not do the right thing, or the little things, right. He didn’t own his dissatisfaction with his head coach, the direction of the program or his standing as a starter. No, instead he schemed and manipulated the system.
Albeit, a system that I would whole heartedly agree exploits its athletes.
So, we can look to Randy Edsall as the evil doer, the guy who won’t let this kid get the education he wants. Or we can look at it as I do, his hand was forced. He had a QB who wouldn’t buy in, an exit-ing coach(es) who were undercutting his authority and in my opinion, most likely scheming for said QB behind closed doors, simply put these sort of actions should not stand.
So where does that leave Maryland?
Well, if things are “the same as they were at UConn” then Edsall is just beginning Spring Ball and the 2012 season with what will be his first season with “his guys.” If I know Coach, the “leave the body, take the jersey” mentality is fully in place; if you can’t do your job and be part of the team concept then they’ll find someone who can. The cancers have been cut out and it’s time to see what can be accomplished in College Park without the inmates running the asylum. And I’m excited to see what Maryland can do on the field and in the ACC.
Where does this leave O’Brien? He’ll play out his eligibility and eventually be an NFL prospect and the character issue will come up and he’ll have to answer to a line of questioning about the circumstances of his departure. The same questions will be posed to the tightly knit coaching community, one known for brutal honesty, and then we’ll see how it all plays out on (un)drafted day.
Posted by thefatwhiteguy Date: Monday, March 19, 2012
Greivis Vasquez played his last game in a Maryland Terrapins uniform today, a heartbreaking 85-83 loss to Michigan State in the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament. If the final 2 minutes were the epitaph for his career, it would read like this.
2:00 minute mark MD trails 80-71
1:54 Greivis makes a 2pt jumper, he’s fouled on the play. MD trails 80-73
1:53 Greivis makes FT to complete 3 pt play. MD trails 80-74
1:51 Greivis steals ball dishes to Mosley for layup. MD trails 80-76
1:27 Greivis makes a 3 pointer. MD trails 80-79
0:39 Greivis makes a 2pt jumper. MD leads 81-80
0:07 Greivis makes a 2pt jumper. MD leads 83-82
That’s 10 points, a steal and an assist in the final 2 minutes. He was Reggie F’in Miller in Madison Square Garden! He took the team on his back and he carried them. And it was vintage Greivis, out of control…fall away jumpers in the lane, using the glass and in heavy traffic…it.was.perfect.
Greivis was both frustrating and fun as hell. He was like a crazy girlfriend that you know is certified, but you can’t cut her loose cuz the sex is great. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched him in a game and screamed NOOOOoooo Greiv what the YESSSSSSSSSS, as he took some stupid shot that he should have never taken, but he hit them more often than not. The debate will be thrown around in bars and on blogs for many years to come, where doe Greivis rank on the Terps all-time list of great players? For me, he’s now #3, behind Juan and Bias. Thanks for the memories Greivis.
Cheers and Hail
Don’t look now but your Maryland Terrapins have the most important game in years coming up this Wednesday. The Terps will host Duke with a share of 1st place in the ACC on the line. Yep, a team picked by most to finish in the bottom half of the ACC has secured 2nd place and has a chance to tie for 1st with a win over Duke.
MD is coming off of a 104-100 victory over VT this weekend, the first road win vs Tech since they joined the ACC. Greivis pumped in 41 pts…anyone who shoots 43 times in a game should score 41, but it’s still impressive. Greivis is writing the final chapters of his legacy at MD and quite frankly, a win over Duke and a run in the NCAA tournament may push him into top 3 all-time status.
I can’t wait to see how this plays out and I know where I’ll be at 9pm on Wednesday. Fear the Turtle.
Cheers and Hail
Happy birthday Charlie Brown. “Downtown” Charlie played 3 seasons for the Redskins from 1982-84. His best season came in the 83’ campaign when he made the Pro Bowl after catching 78 balls for 1,225 yards and 8TD’s. Charlie also made the Pro Bowl in his rookie season of 82’. Charlie was traded to the Falcons before the 85’ season for R.C. Thielemann. Charlie retired after 3 seasons in Atlanta and most recently was a High School football coach in Savannah, GA. Happy 51st Mr. Brown.
Happy birthday Jamie Asher. Jamie played 4 seasons for the Redskins from 95-98. He appeared in 48 games during that time. Jamie’s best season came in 96’ when he caught 42 balls for 481 yards and 4TD’s. In retirement Jamie became a finance advisor for Northwest Mutual. Happy 37th Mr. Asher.
Happy birthday Phil Chenier. Phil played 9 seasons for the Bullets from 1971-80. Phil averaged over 17 points per game during that time and made 3 All Star teams. Phil won a NBA title with the Bullets in 1979. In retirement, Phil has been calling Bullets/Wizards games since 1987. Happy 59th Mr. Chenier.
Happy birthday John Lucas. John was an All-American at the University of Maryland and played 2 seasons with the Bullets in 81-82. In addition to being a great basketball player, John was a World Team tennis player. John battled addiction problems during his career and now counsels athletes battling the same demons. John is also an assistant coach for the Clippers. Happy 56th Mr. Lucas.
Happy birthday Luis Matos. Luis played 7 season for the Orioles from 2000-06’. He hit .256 during that time and stole 72 bases. His best season came in 2003 when he hit .303-13-45 and added 15 stolen bases. In recent years Luis has bounced around the minors and the Mexican League. Happy 31st Mr. Matos.
Cheers and Hail
Posted by fatpickle Date: Friday, October 30, 2009
Happy birthday Juan Dixon. I’ve already written a post about Juan being my favorite college basketball player of all time, you can read it here. Happy 31st Mr. Dixon!
Happy birthday Keith Booth. Wow, 2 of my favorite basketball players of all time were born on the same day! Keith was a part of Maryland’s renaissance period of 94-97. He was the first Baltimore area player to commit to UMD after the Bob Wade era ended in NCAA violations. Keith went to 4 NCAA tournaments and 2 Sweet 16’s while at Maryland. Keith is among MD’s all time leaders in points, rebounds and steals and is a member of the UMD Hall of Fame. Keith won a NBA Championship with the Bulls during the 97-98 seasons. Keith is now entering his 6th season as an assistant under Gary Williams. Happy 35th Mr. Booth.
Happy birthday Brian Roberts. Brian just finished his 9th season with the Orioles, another stellar performance for one of baseball’s best 2nd basemen. Brian batted .289-16-79 last season and added 30 SB’s and 56 doubles! Brian also scored a career high 110 runs last season, his 3rd consecutive season of 100+. Brian is fast moving up the Orioles all time offensive records, ranking in or near the top ten in several categories including 3rd all time in steals. With the likely departure of Melvin Mora, Brian will become the longest tenured Oriole. I hope the O’s can turn it around before Brian’s gone; he’s a hard-nosed ball player that deserves to win. Happy 32nd Mr. Roberts.
Cheers and Hail